It’s the time of the year that hotel owners love and hate with equal vengeance. It brings in a lot of money, and also, a lot of people who remind them why they need the money to stay sane. Most people get the bright idea of taking off for Digha in the brighter hope that no one else has the same bright idea. The long line of traffic on the expressway will be longer than the long weekend.
Then, you will find the best hotels and the best rooms are already booked out at a price about 10,000 times the cost of a state bus ticket. The breakfast buffet will be nothing short of a war zone as you’re torn between chasing after your kids or chasing after the luchi counter before it shuts down. Tales emerge of people lying down in front of the staff trying to clear the buffet at 10.30. Given what you have already spent on the overpriced vacation due to the holiday rush, you can’t even afford to pronounce a la carte, much less order it. I’m reminded of a joke in a Reader’s Digest compendium, where someone had scribbled a la carte was a translation of “God, what prices!”.
Flight tickets, train tickets, bus tickets, movie tickets, heck, even the ticket you raise with your IT will be over-priced to the extent that inflation itself would suffer the blushes. You’ll discover that renting a scooter in Puri during the weekend is more expensive than buying a second-hand car. Even after paying the price, it’s availability would be more elusive than independence itself.
Then, there are the usual memes about the excuses people have made to their bosses to take additional holidays for turning the long weekend into a week-long fun and frolic extravaganza. Till you realise your domestic help has had the same idea. And now you’re scrambling for a replacement to realise you are far more replaceable at your workplace than she is. You long for the day when AI comes for her job as well, in sweet revenge.
You realise that traffic has taken the idea of independence to its extreme and now literally has a country of its own within the country. It takes you more time to reach each destination than the time you spend there. You briefly contemplate whether VFH: Vacation from Home was an even greater idea for humanity than Work From Home.
“… perhaps you should have stayed back and gone to office instead. Because at least you would have the place to yourself and be considered a model employee while you bitch about your holidaying colleagues enjoying themselves.”
You try parasailing and whack into the neighbour’s parachute because the beach is now flooded with more parachuting holidayers than the paratroopers at Normandy on D-day. You look around and see a sea of people both in the sea and outside it… as far as the eye can see. You briefly wish for an apocalypse to wipe out the holiday competition and then reflect of the irony of wishing this on a holiday.
A dreaded thought crosses your mind as you realise even your daily commute to office is less gruesome than this highway to hell, without the AC/DC vibe. And you realise with slumped shoulders that perhaps you should have stayed back and gone to office instead. Because at least you would have the place to yourself and be considered a model employee while you bitch about your holidaying colleagues enjoying themselves. And you grin a wicked grin knowing that is definitely not the case. For you have found the ultimate nirvana — VFO: Vacation from Office.
The author is a Marwari investment banker turned corporate comedian. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.